The 4 C’s to Success
I was fortunate enough to be invited as a Hollywood guest speaker for the 3rd time just a couple weeks ago. In front of a room full of acclaimed actors, directors, writers, producers, publicists and more, I shared the philosophy that has propelled me through my career and is a guideline to success. Not success exclusive to Hollywood or the entertainment industry, but success throughout ALL industries. Take from it what you will.
It’s called the 4 C’s.
No, that’s doesn’t stand for cutlery, cups, crockery and crap. Although it was somewhat inspired by this catchy post-meal tradition on those fun summer camps growing up. Ok! Here we go.
Photo by James R Goddard Photography
This one should be obvious. You’ll get nowhere without communication. But it flows much deeper than that. It’s all about how you communicate - verbally, physically, digitally.
Communication in first impressions:
It should go without saying that when you are in a professional environment, or a neutral environment where there is the potential for networking, be respectful and polite. But don’t be bland. It’s OKAY to show personality! Actually, it’s ENCOURAGED! Personality is what separates us from the herd.
If you are one of the many of us who are introverted and shy, don’t worry, you’re not alone. You’re highly skilled, but shy, and therefore struggle to promote yourself and your work. Others feel silly talking about themselves, often due to a lack of confidence. In this situation, it can be easy for the confident to say to the shy, “bite the bullet, just try not to be so quiet”. But it doesn’t quite work like that. For some people, perhaps, but for others, there has to be another way around it.
And there are many. Communication extends past verbal. Build a website that people can refer back to, create some business cards to hand out that showcase you and your skills, rather than being forced to verbally talk about yourself and your work. Then it’s as easy as handing someone a card. The card starts up a two-way conversation, which is a lot less daunting that a self-promotional rant. This goes for everyone - don’t ramble about yourself to potential employers, turn it into a mutually interesting and beneficial conversation, that way it will be free flowing and less awkward.
Communication is physical, too. It’s vital how you present yourself. Dress well, smile, and be genuine. This applies to networking events and occasions where you expect professional interaction, yet it should be a guideline for always. You never know which potential employer, which Hollywood producer, is a friend-of-a-friend that just walked into the cafe you’re sitting in and is about to be introduced to you. Remember the business cards - make sure there’s always a few at your disposal just incase.
Then there’s the realm of digital communication. This is an obvious one, yet time and time again we see potential opportunities ruined by an unmoderated social media presence. Our social media profiles are basically a 2nd resume, whether it be Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc. You wouldn’t swear at a job interview, you wouldn’t bring in photos of the last time you were stone-cold drunk. So why put it online? A few simple searches can reveal a lot. Facebook background checks are becoming increasingly common for employers, so make sure to think twice before posting something that could come back to haunt you.
Be memorable, but only for good reasons.
Commitment is the difference between having a goal or a dream, and continually taking positive steps toward that goal or dream. It’s ongoing and its regular. Having a dream or an end goal is fantastic. We should all have them. But having them is not enough. There needs to be a plan of action, and constant commitment and dedication.
Let’s look at an example:
Dream job: Wedding Photographer
Wrong. Dream bigger
Dream job: Wedding photographer, paid to travel around the world, shooting events on exotic islands, with multiple galleries displaying your award-winning images.
Commitment goes hand in hand with passion - you’ll quickly find that if you’re struggling to commit to something, then you’re probably lacking the desire for it. So take that extra time to evaluate yourself and where you stand. Ask yourself: Where am I headed? Is that where I really want to be headed? Am I on track? If not, what do i need to do to get myself back on course? What are the steps between where I am now and where I want to be?
Surround yourself with the people, within the environment, that will help you succeed. Live it and breath it.
Courage is the ability to say “yes, I am good enough!”. Have the courage and confidence in your own ability and skills - don’t doubt yourself. Ever. Have the courage to grasp an opportunity when it arises, otherwise you’ll find that you’ll be left kicking yourself for letting it slide through your fingertips. Possess the strength to drop everything in search of what you’re really after. It can be awfully daunting to abandon a routine, but as the cliche goes; you’ll never know if you don’t try. Your current job pays the bills, the hours aren’t great but the other staff are nice. Most people feel comfortable in this routine, but once again, this is where courage says hello again. Be brave enough to make the realisation that this is not your ideal, this is not your passion. Furthermore, do something about it! A world of knowledge exists at our fingertips. Your passion and your journey is waiting for you and can start with just a few clicks. Do some research, decide if it's what you truly want, and then GO FOR IT!
This one flows nicely on from what was discussed in Courage. It’s pretty simple - don’t turn down an opportunity. That’s not exclusive to a job opportunity… networking opportunities, publicity opportunities, learning opportunities, etc. are all included. A difficult question: Should I accept a position lesser than what I’m striving for? It’s contentious, but I say YES. Use it as a stepping stone. Use it to meet people. An actor striving for a leading role should say YES to any opportunity to get on set, even as a runner or PA. That gets you in the door and give you the opportunity to develop a rapport. Once you're in, then do whatever you can to climb the ranks and continue to capitalise on what’s offered. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
For the sake of it, let’s throw in another ‘C’. CHARISMA. It links with everything that’s been discussed before: Make yourself memorable. Be interesting, be inspiring, share stories, but don’t brag. Nobody likes a bragger. If you’re following your passion, that’s inspiring in itself - tell that story! Be confident in yourself, because your most important critic is yourself. You have to believe what you're saying, what you’re doing to be true. If you don’t, then how will others? Most importantly, smile, it’s infectious.